United Way of Berks County announces Venture Grant Opportunity

Focusing on Health Inequities and Workforce Development Issues, United Way of Berks County has announced a one-time Venture Grant opportunity available to local 501(c)(3) nonprofits providing health and human service programs within Berks County.

Venture Grants provide one-time funding to support innovative projects responding to the needs of identified community issues. The current opportunity centers on addressing health inequities/social determinants of health and/or workforce development programs.

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While health inequities have long existed, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues to the forefront. Limited resources including lack of transportation, lack of insurance and other social determinants of health make it challenging for individuals from lower socioeconomic background to access quality health care.

Proposed programs addressing one or more of following issues to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities are highly desirable to be considered for funding: Digital Divide, Food insecurity and access to healthy food, Identifying developmental delays in children, Increased drug and alcohol issues due to the pandemic, Lack of cultural competence in providers, Mental Health, Safe, affordable housing, Violence Prevention, Barriers that make healthcare access challenging including childcare, education, language, providers’ hours of operation and transportation.

The pandemic also exacerbated workforce and employment conditions. The demand for employees and skilled workers created continued challenges for local employers. The Berks County Workforce Development Board cites ongoing challenges and opportunities, including an aging population and workforce, integrating a more diverse workforce, addressing barriers faced by disconnected young adults, and educational attainment.

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Proposed programs addressing one or more of the following workforce development challenges are highly desirable to be considered for funding: Aging Population and Workforce, Disconnected Young Adults, A More Inclusive Workforce, Low Adult Literacy and Numeracy, COVID-19 Impacts on Women.

Venture Grant eligibility Criteria follows: Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing health and human services to Berks County residents is eligible to apply. Grants must support the delivery of new, expanded or enhanced programs and cannot simply fund existing programs. Priority will be given to programs that demonstrate meaningful and ongoing engagement with participants over an extended period, and that provide an opportunity for participants to apply new knowledge or skills to achieve the desired outcome. Stand-alone, one-time events or large group presentations will NOT be eligible for consideration.

A maximum grant of up to $50,000 may be requested, with United Way reserving the option to award a lesser amount based on demonstrated need and available resources. Applications will be open for completion beginning Monday, November 7, 2022, and are due by 5:00 pm on November 29.

Applicants will receive notice of funding by December 19. The funding period is defined as January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023. A final report will be due at the end of the 12-month period.

Applicants should review the full details regarding all grant eligibility requirements, as well as the application format at www.uwberks.org. Grant proposals will be awarded through a competitive process after review by a panel of community volunteers, with approval by the organization’s Board of Directors.

For technical assistance with the application software, known as e-CImpact, please contact Jennifer Tinsman at jennifert@uwberks.org or 610.685.4576. For any other grant-related questions, please contact Kristin Gehris at kristing@uwberks.org or 610.685.4567.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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